Communists in Congress? Florida Rep. claims dozens are Democrats
Reporter: Claire Doan
TUCSON (AP/KGUN9-TV) – Communists in Congress? Sounds like Joe McCarthy’s claims from the 1950s, but one Florida lawmaker says it’s happening right now.
U.S. Representative Allen West (R-Fla.) claimed dozens of Democrats in Congress are communists, referring to the Congressional Progressive Caucus, but members said he’s trying to turn back the clock to the days of the Red Scare.
The town hall video from Florida has gone viral, with a constituent asking West how many “card-carrying Marxists or international socialists” are in Congress.
“I believe there are about 78 to 81 members of the Democratic Party that are members of the Community Party,” West responded, going on to say that they are part of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
Congressman Raúl Grijalva is a member of that group.
“I think when people are forced to defend their positions and have position, they make outlandish claims. They make accusations and lie. And that is what Rep. West did. He lied,” Grijalva told KGUN9 News.
West released the following statement to a CBS-affiliate in Miami explaining his comment: “The Community Party has referred to the Progressive Caucus as its allies. The Progressive Caucus speaks for itself. These individuals certainly aren’t proponents of free markets or individual economic freedom.”
Grijalva fired back, arguing his caucus represents mainstream America – but regardless of politics, West shouldn’t stoop to name-calling.
“I think Republicans should feel very strongly about it. They might disagree with Progressive Caucus’ position, but civility and fairplay – they should defend that,” Grijalva said, adding that Republicans should denounce the comments.
9 On Your Side also caught up with Congressman Ed Pastor.
“Well I don’t have a card. I’m not a member and I don’t know where he got the information,” Pastor. “But obviously the Communist Party even in the Soviet Union is gone, so either he’s living in the past or read a book that scared him.”
As for the Marxist cards that West claims some Democrats carry?
“I have no idea. I don’t know where they come from and I’m sure Mr. West doesn’t either,” Grijalva said.
“I don’t think you can go to Russia. China, maybe, but then I think it’s going to very, very hard. They’re very selective on who the hell is a member.”